Commando has been cured of painful back pain by taking medicinal cannabis Daily Mail

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A GREEN beret! Commando has been cured of the crippling back pain that developed over eight years of carrying heavy gear around war zones following the use of the medicinal cannabis


  • Commando Rik Swaine 40s, of Wales was a patient of five spine operations to relieve back discomfort.

  • The father-of-four is now able to play football with his children once more after cannabis has cured the problem.

A commando who had five surgeries to his spine has shared how he will soon be able to be able to play football with his children following the prescription for medical cannabis brought an end to many years of crippling back pain.

Rik Swaine, aged 40, from Wales is afflicted with a chronic inflammation called Ankylosing Spondylitis. It was made worse by carrying a 120 pound army kit across danger zones all over the world which left him unable to move and bedridden for several weeks at the same time.

The father-of-four told me: “I’d spent a lot of time carrying heavy equipment through hostile areas. One day, I’d be descending a treacherous mountain, and the next might be slogging through swamps in a snaky jungle.

Many people underestimate the volume of gear soldiers carry around, and what potential long-term consequences could be.

The rations and weaponry you carry add up, and the heavy lifting can take its toll. When I was in Sierra Leone, it wasn’t uncommon for me to carry 120 pounds of gear strapped on my back.

Rik Swaine (pictured) 40s, of Wales suffers from chronic arthritis that is known as Ankylosing Spondylitis. It was made worse by lugging a heavy 120lbs military kit across dangerous zones all over the world that left him in a wheelchair and unable to move for weeks at a time.

In all, Rik (pictured in hospital) underwent five operations on his spine as well as five operations on his knees, and 2 on his shoulderHowever, every time, the pain was more intense than it was before.

Rik (left carrying an assault rifle) stated: ‘I’d been spending many years carrying heavy equipment in hostile environments. One day I’d be climbing a dangerous mountain, and the next could be in a swamp in a snaky jungle’

After eight years of service in the elite forces, the inflammation was spreading across the back up to my knees, and I couldn’t bear any more pain. I was forced to leave my job that I enjoyed because of the pain that was excruciating.’

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a cause of lower back stiffness and pain in its early stages however, over time it can cause the fusion of spinal vertebrae, causing significant mobility problems.

Certain people who suffer from AS have persistent, severe back as well as hip discomfort as well as stiffness. Other sufferers experience symptoms – or flare-ups that appear and disappear. Patients are advised to participate in physical activity and sport to maintain mobility.

Rik quit the military and shifted to private security work, which included security for diplomats in Iraq and combating Somali pirates across Somali pirates in the Indian ocean.

“My gear was just less than half the weight I lugged around in the military, and since I didn’t need to run long distances, I took less stress upon my knees. However, I experienced flare-ups in back discomfort, which meant I was absent for days or even weeks at a stretch.

“I spent 10 years in a row in Iraq as well as other trouble spots. However, I was forced to leave because the suffering became too to bear.’

He was given a myriad of medicines that did nothing to ease his suffering. He underwent five surgeries on his spine and five on his knees, and 2 on the shouldershowever, each time the pain became more severe than it was before.

The flare-up can last only a few days or may last for several weeks. I was hopeful that it would improve in the coming days however, that the harm was in place and my condition continued to deteriorate. The inflammation and pain spread across my entire body.

There were moments when it felt like there was poison coursing through my veins, and I couldn’t get up.

“Sometimes, the pain would last for days, some times it would continue for months. I was devastated and nearly gave my hope up.

If I could not get out of bed, it was not possible for me to be able to play with my children. I still remember my toddler asking me one time if they could ride onto my shoulders, and I had to reply”no, I’m sorry but I’m not able to.’

“I was unable to even play at them with the ball pit. It felt like life was not worth living every day.’

Rik (pictured alongside two of his kids) is back in work as an employee of the health and safety department and now has the opportunity to spend more family time children aged between 8 and 24 years old.

Rik (picture skis) has urged Rik (picture skiing) has urged the NHS for prescriptions for medical cannabis more widely accessible for those suffering from chronic pain. This is that is defined as pain that lasts for longer than three months.

In the year 2018, after having read an article in the newspaper regarding marijuana for medical purposes, Rik sought help from a private clinic that gave Rik a prescription.

In the span of just five minutes, my life completely changed and my pain was beginning to ease. None of the medications I’d tried before even came close to it. It was like an amazing experience, but the downside was that it didn’t come for free.

Because the prescription wasn’t accessible through the NHS the cost was me PS400 per month — money I couldn’t afford because I was in financial trouble.’

Then, in the year 2000, Rik’s situation was referred to The IAMBILLY Foundation, which works with medical cannabis companies around the world to provide free medication for patients suffering from chronic pain.

The charity is headed by Charlotte Caldwell whose epileptic son Billy has changed the law after he received his very first NHS medication for medicinal cannabis back in the year 2018 after the drugs his mother took from Canada were confiscated at Heathrow.

At present, around 25,000 individuals within the UK are receiving treatment with medical cannabis to treat ailments such as epilepsy, chronic pain and Parkinson’s disease. However, the majority of prescriptions are given through private health insurance, which is expensive, and patients struggling to gain access to the drugs through the NHS.

Through the foundation, pharmaceutical company Cellen came forward at the start in the new year, to give Rik an unrestricted program of its medicine Satoline.

Rik has been working since returning to work as an employee of the health and safety department and now has the opportunity to spend more spending time with the children aged between 8 and 24 years old.

Tonight, he demanded to the NHS to ensure that prescriptions for medical cannabis more widely accessible for those suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than three months.

“I am deeply grateful to Cellen for allowing me to live the chance to live a normal life. I’m back working and paying my debts.

“I’m able to play ball with my children and participate in some fun with my family. However, I would like others who are suffering from chronic pain to be able to enjoy the same kind of life that I have.’

Charlotte Caldwell, mother of Billy Charlotte Caldwell, mother of Billy NHS to boost funding for medical cannabis treatments through Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service (RECAS) which is currently the sole option for healthcare that is funded by the government for these patients.

She added: ‘In the meantime, we’d like more medical firms to come to the table and offer free treatments. There is no reason for a manufacturer to take thousands of dollars from vulnerable parents in order that they are able to keep their chronically sick baby alive.’

Graham Woodward, Clinical Director Cellen’s online Leva Clinic said: ‘I’m thrilled that Rik has his life back by having access to Satoline.

We want to keep supporting the most people possible, because We believe that there is a world free of suffering and pain.

Through access to top-quality treatment and the most recent evidence-based medical practices, we are hopeful that many more people suffering from life-limiting diseases like Rik’s in a position to turn the tide of their lives.

“We believe in a future that is free from unnecessary pain and suffering through aiding people to access exceptional healthcare and the most up-to-date evidence-based medical treatment.’